An international scholarly online history journal on First and Second Empire subjects: articles, bibliographies, book reviews, in english and in french

The Napoleon route, from Jena to Auerstedt



 Back to the Homepage

 Back to section page

 Back to the heading homepage

The Napoleon Route links the historic battlefields of Jena and Auerstedt. The Route begins at Jena and leads you on to Hassenhausen and Auerstadt via Cospeda, Vierzehnheiligen, and Kapellendorf. You can consult information panels at the principal points that explain the story of these two battles. Along the main route, you can also discover a complete network of smaller paths and routes that allow visitors to come into contact with the countryside and the history of the battlefields, whether on foot, cycling, or in a car. The lines follow the precise movements of the troops who fought here, while the different stopping points bear the names of the respective French and Prussian commanders.
The Marshal Davout Route
The Route named after Davout follows the path of the IIIrd Army Corps of Marshal Davout on the battlefield of Auerstedt. Setting out from Naumburg via Bad Kösen, the Marshal Davout Route rejoins the Napoleon Route at Hassenhausen.
General von Blucher's Route
The Prussian general set out with his cavalry from Hassenhausen on a reconnaissance mission to assess the strength of the French forces in the area. He attempted in vain to drive them back to Bad Kösen.
General Morand's Route
General Morand commanded the left wing of the French troops that occupied the battlefield between Hassenhausen and Bad Sulza and advanced in the direction of Auerstedt-Eckartsberga.
General Friant's Route
General Friant commanded the French troops on the right wing that struck the Prussian front lines from behind and forced them to retreat. This division advanced by the North from Hassenhausen, toward Eckartsberga.
The Duke of Brunswick's Route
The Duke of Brunswick, commander in chief of the Prussian army, led the main body of the army, based near Auerstedt, onto the battlefield of Hassenhausen. It was here that he was severely wounded.
King Frederick William's Route
The King of Prussia, Frederick William II, was commander in chief of the Prussian Army. But he delegated this responsibility to the Duke of Brunswick. The King took part in the fighting, and so became a symbol of the decline of the ancient Prussian State.  In his flight he passed by Auerstedt, and toward Liebstedt.
Marshal Lannes' Route
Marshal Lannes' army corps was the first French force to arrive at Jena, where it occupied the Landgrafenberg, a vital strategic position. It was here that Napoleon conquered the Dornberg on the day of the battle. It was the highest point on the battlefield, and so played an important part in his victory over the Prussian Army. Lannes' troops formed the heart of the French Army.
Marshal Soult's Route
Marshal Soult's corps d'armée formed the right wing of the French forces that mounted the heights via Wenigenjena and the Rau valley. They forced the Prussian outposts near Rödingen, commanded by General Von Holtzendorf, to retreat. Soult's troops smashed through the Prussian lines in the fighting around Vierzehnheiligen in the place known as the Krippendorf windmill, making an enormous contribution to the Prussian defeat.
Marshal Augereau's Route
The corps d'armée under the orders of Marshal Augereau formed the left wing of the French troops. Advancing out from the Mühltal, he was obliged to fight the «Schnecke», Saxon troops on a hill at the end of the valley. Other attacks were launched against the village of Isserstadt.
Marshal Ney's Route
Marshal Ney's troops, posted in the heart of the fighting around Vierzehnheiligen assaulted the German lines between Krippendorf and Isserstadt.
General Von Tauentzien's Route
At the beginning of the battle, the Prussian outposts around General Von Tauentzien were posted in the area of the Dornberg, a vital strategic position, and in the villages of Closewitz and Lützeroda. Napoleon had decided to attack the Dornberg first, and it was here that the battle of Jena began. After their defeat, Von Tauntzien's forces withdrew behind Krippendorf.
The Prince of Hohenlohe's Route
The Prince of Hohenlohe commanded part of the Prussian army near Jena. Commanding from his headquarters at Kapellendorf, he faced the French troops that had occupied the Dornberg. Hohenlohe commanded in person during the fighting, that ended in defeat near Vierzehnheiligen. He fled toward Weimar under the  protection of a battalion of Saxon infantry Aus dem Winkel.
General Holtzendorf's Route
The Prussian troops under General Von Holtzendorf formed the outposts intended to protect the headquarters near Kapellendorf. Holtzendorf was defeated by Marshal Soult's troops near Rödigen and Lehesten. His units withdrew toward Stobra and Apolda and took no further part in the fighting.
General von Rüchel's Route
General Von Rüchel commanded another part of the Prussian army, that found itself near Weimar on the day of the fighting. Answering Prince Hohenlohe's calls for help until late in the day, he arrived on the battlefield at Kapellendorf too late to influence the course of the battle. Rüchel's troops were defeated at Sperlingsberg near Kappellendorf.
The Saxon Route
On the night before the battle, the Saxons, allied to the Prussians, had set up camp near Hohlstedt. When the fighting began, they  were positioned around «An der Schnecke» and Isserstadt, in order to cover the attacks from the Mühltal. They were beaten by Augereau's corps and taken prisoner.

Marshal Bernadotte's Route
Marshal Bernadotte's Route follows the Saale cycle path, linking the battlefield of Jena and Auerstedt. It crosses the area through which the French troops under Bernadotte passed. Bernadotte, jealous of Davout, refused to obey the orders given by the Emperor that obliged him to support Davout's heavily outnumbered corps. Due to the incompetence of their commander (who narrowly avoided being court-martialled afterwards) Bernadotte's corps took little part in the fighting until the the day after the battles of Jena and Auerstadt.
Marshal Murat's Route
It was at Dornburg that part of the reserve cavalry commanded by Marshal Murat arrived on the battlefied of Jena. Their intervention was one of the main reasons that balance of the fighting swung in favour of the French.
June 2006



Bulletin | My | Site Map | Contact us | Add to your favourites | Legal | ISSN 2272-1800